The Senate Republican minority today blocked passage of the Paycheck Fairness for Women Act, a common-sense effort to address the pay gap between women and men. The filibuster follows an attempt last week by House Democrats to get a vote on the bill, which the Republican House majority refused to allow.
The Paycheck Fairness Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries, closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, rewards employers who have fair and equitable pay practices, and helps small businesses adopt equal pay policies.
"Republicans are standing against public opinion, common sense, and fifty years of advances in gender equality," said Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ). "Now everyone in this country who pays women less than men for the same job knows who their friends are in Washington. This is an open insult to every working woman and man in this country, not only because it means families earn less for their honest labor but because it creates inequality between colleagues where none should exist. Shame on everyone who votes for discrimination in the workplace."
"The idea that a woman would be paid less than a man for the same work is grossly unfair," said CPC Co-Chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). "Why would anyone subvert the democratic process to pay women less than men? Women lose significant income during their lifetimes due to pay inequity. This unfairness extends to the children, elderly parents and families who rely on women for support. This unequal treatment has to end."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women who work full time still earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earn. The statistics are even worse for women of color. In 2010, African American women only earned approximately 62 cents and Latinas only 54 cents for each dollar earned by a white man. The Institute of Women's Policy Research found that this wage disparity will cost women anywhere from $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime in lost wages.